BAYĀT or BAYĀTĪ, one of the old modes of the Irano-Arabic musical tradition, mentioned for the first time by Šayḵ Ṣafadī (9th/15th century; Shiloah, p. 304) and by ʿAbd-al-Qāder b. Ḡaybī Marāḡī (d. 1435; pp. 64, 72) as one of the twenty-four šoʿbas sometimes called Nowrūz-e bayātī. According to the old sources quoted by Forṣat-e Šīrāzī (p. 20) it started on Ḥosaynī, then Ḥejāz and Rakab, then ended in Segāh and Neyrīz. In Bahjat al-rūḥ it appears as one of the twenty-four šoʿbas derived from the maqām Kūček; its old name was Nowrūz-e Aṣl (ibid., p. 80), a definition that is still quite relevant to the Arabic contemporary form.

Bayātī is a very important maqām of Arabic and Turkish classical music as well as popular traditions; it seems to have preserved its original form with the characteristic tetrachord (jens): D Ep F G (p = koron or half-flat), also called Ḥosaynī, and extended in G A Bb C.

As a distinct mode, its name has disappeared from Persian music, but it survives in the taxonomy of the āvāz, Bayāt-e Eṣfahān, Bayāt-e Tork (Zand), Bayāt-e Kord, and of the important gūšas of Bayāt-e Šīrāz, Bayāt-e ʿAjam, and Bayāt-e Rājeʿ. In this terminology, Bayāt refers to the modal context in which these modes are performed, i.e., their lower tetrachord characterized by the notes C D Ep with the finalis on D. This interpretation, although ignored by Persian theoreticians, relies on comparative and historical musical analyses. In Azerbaijan, too, it is found only in that context and in a rare maqām called Čobān Bayātī, close to Bayāt-e Kord.



Bahjat al-rūḥ (an apocryph of ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen b. Ṣafī-al-Dīn), ed. H. L. Rabino de Borgomale, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967.

ʿAbd-al-Qāder b. Ḡaybī Marāḡī, Maqāṣed al-alḥān, ed. T. Bīneš, Tehran, 2536 = 1356 Š./1977.

A. Shiloah, The Theory of Music in Arabic Writings (c. 900-1900): Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in Libraries of Europe and the U.S.A., Munich, 1979.

Forṣat-e Šīrāzī, Boḥūr al-alḥān, Bombay, 1332/1914; ed. ʿA. Zarrīnqalam, Tehran, 1345 Š./1966.

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 بیاتی bayati bayaati bayaty

(J. During)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: December 15, 1988

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 8, p. 884